Socialism portal

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Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and workers' self-management of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, though social rather than individual ownership is the common element shared by its various forms. "Social ownership" may refer to several different forms:

Varieties of socialism can be categorized in a variety of ways:

Non-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system. By contrast, market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend. The socialist calculation debate discusses the feasibility and methods of resource allocation for a socialist system.

Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions, and at other times independent and critical of unions; and present in both industrialised and developing countries. Originating within the socialist movement, social democracy has embraced a mixed economy with a market that includes substantial state intervention in the form of income redistribution, regulation, and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism where there is more decentralized control of companies, currencies, investments, natural resources.


The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social problems that were associated with capitalism. By the late 19th century, after the work of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production. By the 1920s, social democracy and communism had become the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement. By this time, socialism emerged as "the most influential secular movement of the twentieth century, worldwide. It is a political ideology (or world view), a wide and divided political movement" and while the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world's first nominally socialist state led to socialism's widespread association with the Soviet economic model, some economists and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism or a non-planned administrative or command economy. Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world. Today, some socialists have also adopted the causes of other social movements, such as environmentalism, feminism and progressivism.

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Christian cross
Christian socialism generally refers to those on the Christian left whose politics are both Christian and socialist and who see these two things as being interconnected. This category can include Liberation theology and the doctrine of the social gospel. Christian socialists draw parallels between what some have characterized as the egalitarian and anti-establishment message of Jesus, who — according to Christian Gospel — spoke against the religious authorities of his time, and the egalitarian, anti-establishment, and sometimes anti-clerical message of most contemporary socialisms. Some Christian Socialists have gone as far as to become active Communists.



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R. H. Tawney
Richard Henry "R. H." Tawney (/ˈtɔːni/; 30 November 1880 – 16 January 1962) was an English economic historian, social critic, ethical socialist, Christian socialist, and an important proponent of adult education.

The Oxford Companion to British History (1997) explained that Tawney made a "significant impact" in all four of these "interrelated roles". A. L. Rowse goes further by insisting that "Tawney exercised the widest influence of any historian of his time, politically, socially and, above all, educationally".



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